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Apr 21, 2007 09:44 AM

Seeking upscale dinner with great food in Northern NJ

I'm an out-of-town visitor (and frequent Chowhound contributor in my hometown forum) seeking a recommendation for one night, one dinner next month. I'd like to find a restaurant, anywhere in northern Jersey. Price does not matter, although I'd prefer a reasonably nice place (i.e. not hole-in-the-wall). What I am really looking for is excellent food, not just good but GREAT - the kind of place where every bite of every dish is to die for. I generally prefer what some might call contemporary cuisine, such as grilled fish with a nice sauce. NOT a steakhouse and NOT conventional Italian. Last year I ate at Fascino in Montclair, which I liked a lot, but would like to try a place I've never been, rather than a repeat visit. Anywhere in northern NJ is fine; it does not have to be in or near Essex County.

I'm strongly considering Blu in Montclair, Chakra in Paramus, Silver Oak Bistro in Ridgewood, or maybe one of the locations of South City Grill. (I've searched and found mixed reviews on the last three, none on Blu). I would welcome comments on these as well as any additional suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Lorena's, in Maplewood, is one of the best restaurants in the state. Chef/owner Humberto Campos' cuisine is superb. We have been there countless times, and I can say with all honesty that there has never been one dish we've had -- and we've been through entire menus -- that wasn't perfection! Humberto's fiancee, Lorena, Dining Room Manager, George, and their small staff provide very gracious and polished service. The small space has 35 seats and truly charming decor. It is a BYO (there's a wine store directly across the street), but they have proper glasses, and George handles all wines with great expertise.

    1. Trattoria Fresco in West Caldwell is an excellent Italian restaurant. It is a somewhat casual, BYOB (Shop Rite liquors is right accross the street). Everything that I have ever eaten there is unbelievable! Honestly, i cannot say enough about this restaurants because its just that good! They are not overly expensive either!

      1. People will begin to think that I am on the payroll, but I cannot recommend Pierre's enough. It's in Morristown.

        1 Reply
        1. Earth, in Totowa, is doing some wonderful seasonal and ingredients-driven stuff. (doesn't work with Firefox/Mozilla). Chef Lo Pinto was most recently doing excellent work at Fortunato in Lyndhurst.

          1. These all sound like great suggestions! Thank you, all (and keep 'em comin'!)!